Scotland v England clash to be ‘physical but fair’

GORDON STRACHAN believes Scotland’s friendly against England at Celtic Park tonight will be played in the right spirit - like the Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland.

Gordon Strachan believes it will be played in the same spirit as the Republic of Ireland match. Picture: Robert Perry
Gordon Strachan believes it will be played in the same spirit as the Republic of Ireland match. Picture: Robert Perry

Much was made about the robust and physical nature of the match against the Irish at Parkhead last Friday night where Shaun Maloney’s second-half goal kept Scots’ hopes of qualifying for the finals in France very much alive.

England goalkeeper Ben Foster made the headlines with his take on the match: “From watching the game the other night, they were kicking lumps out of each other weren’t they?”

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However, Scotland boss Strachan said: “It was a game played in the right manner and everyone gave it their best.

“It was physical but fair. I think people think it was some sort of bloodbath, it was nothing like that.

“It was people going toe to toe and respecting each other.

“There is a big difference between that and a bloodbath, which we have seen many a time over the years.

“I thought it was played in a terrific spirit and I know it is going to be the same (against England).”

Strachan entered the debate about Maloney’s wonderful goal which involved Ikechi Anya and skipper Scott Brown at a short corner before he curled the ball past Irish keeper David Forde from around 16 yards to take Scotland level on seven points with Martin O’Neill’s side and Germany, three behind Group D leaders Poland.

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While his praise for Maloney was unstinting, the former Scotland midfielder drew the line at putting his strike ahead of Archie Gemmill’s famous goal for the Scots against Holland in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, which has its own display in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park.

“I have seen Shaun’s goal two or three times now,” said the former Celtic boss.

“There are loads of things it could have fell down on but three or four players put the move together and then Shaun has the difficult bit.

“He was at the point where the whole of Ireland and Scotland are watching him and all those years of practice comes down to these situations.

“I have seen players at clubs get changed and go away but Shaun is not like that.

“He has been working for years for that moment, to be able to master his craft and do that.

“So it is no fluke but no (not better than Gemmill’s goal). Archie’s goal is in the Hampden museum.

“Once it gets into the museum you can call it a good goal.”

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